3 GREAT STORIES OF THE WEEK: Starring memorials, the NCAA, & Marv Albert

Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

This was a tough week to choose three great stories.

I read, watched, and listened to a lot of wonderful pieces this week. Perhaps I now spend more time seeking out terrific work because I write this entry every week, but more and more I find myself impressed and encouraged by the journalism — and simple storytelling — I see on a regular basis.

Here are this week’s 3 Great Stories, but I may soon need to increase the number:

Former sailor writes out Afghan casualties’ names from memory (3/27/13, Military Times): Everything about this story is beautiful: the camerawork, the audio, the opening music, the subject matter, and the person being profiled. The thing I like most? Photojournalist Colin Kelly lets this story breathe; he lets you soak in every minute of his subject’s quest. I don’t want to reveal too much about this story … just that if you watch it, you will be touched.

Tainted love (4/10/13, Grantland.com): Bill Simmons’ Grantland web site is at its best when writing “definitive” pieces about seemingly trivial matters; witness this month’s pieces about the career of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the failure of the Super Mario Bros. movie.

This piece goes against the typical Grantland model, and to wonderful effect.

Jay Caspian Kang details what many young adult sports fans, myself included, are going through now. We can no longer look at sports with rose-colored glasses; many of us must now confront the harsh realities of sports, be it concussions in the NFL or, in this case, the seeming hypocrisy of the NCAA. Kang deftly describes this tug of war between what we love and what we despise about sports.

Marv Albert Is My Therapist [in stereo] (4/12/13, NewYorker.com): There’s an old Seinfeld episode where Elaine complains to an editor with the New Yorker about the overly vague nature of its cartoons.

The editor at one point responds, “Cartoons are like gossamer … and one doesn’t dissect gossamer.”

In that spirit, I will not spend much time dissecting why this oddball clip is so enjoyable. Actor Jesse Eisenberg and sportscaster Marv Albert present a vocal version of the article Eisenberg wrote for the New Yorker in March.

Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing. Maybe it’s the playful, game nature with which Eisenberg and especially Albert approach this.

I don’t know … just take a listen.

Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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